The Netherlands: 3.3k IT companies and over 320k registered software developers – is this Europe’s tech hub?

The Netherlands is not only known for its canals, hundreds of bikers, and the infamous Netherlands Euro football team, but it also has a thriving IT community. With over 3.3k IT companies and above 320k registered software developers, the world of technology shifts from one height to another as each day passes.

tech hub

At least 98% of households in the Netherlands are connected to the internet. The country has the most trusted cybersecurity and AI systems in the world. No wonder big tech companies choose to place their headquarters or invest massively there. The workforce is very tech-savvy, making them digital trailblazers who are pioneering the adoption of new digital applications all the time.

The Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) is hosted here. This is a world-class digital data distributor with a cutting-edge network that enables businesses to remain digitally connected. It also facilitates work-from-home connections, allowing for a flexible work-life balance. Google, Microsoft and IBM are amongst some of the tech companies that chose to have their European headquarters here, together with their research and development facilities and customer service centres.

Let’s take a look at how the Dutch got here. 

What have the Dutch developed?

From inventing the CD in 1979, the Dutch made even greater history when they gave us WiFi in 1991. We now do not know a world without internet connectivity and border-less communication.

The development of Bluetooth also has deep roots that lead us back to the Netherlands. The idea of device connectivity first clicked in 1990 and was developed by Dutch engineer Jaap Haartsen in 1994. The initial purpose of the software invention was to promote the use of wireless headsets through short radio waves, and then we moved to data transfer between devices.

In more recent years, WeTransfer was developed. Much like Bluetooth technology, this software has been instrumental in transferring and moving large files of information. This is done wirelessly without a physical drive.

The Dutch are also known for their innovation in fighting cybercrime through different forms of cybersecurity. The National Cyber Security Centre encourages the Dutch government to collaborate with businesses to promote digital resilience in the community. This cooperation strengthens the economic ecosystem and has captivated security agencies all over the globe, including Europol.

The people of the Netherlands have been clever enough to integrate their IT activities into other industries. In agriculture, they joined smart farming and Agtech. This has led to sustained food supplements and export quality products, making them only second to the US in agricultural exports.

You would think with all these inventions happening in the nation, every student aspires to be in IT and related services, but the skills gap is only widening. Tech companies have even opted to invest in human capital to the extent that highly skilled expatriates get tax rebates to join these Netherlands-based companies. Even with incentives, the sector has failed to meet the demand for tech professionals. So if you are out there and you are ready for a career change, this is a massive opportunity for you!


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